It’s been quite a bit since I’ve actually had any announcements, and I’ve actually had a few to state since the holidays last year. But today I do have something a bit more business and serious to give an update on.
For awhile now, I’ve had a “Bad Client Clause” in my terms of service on my website, mainly pointed towards time-wasters and such. Don’t harass me, doxx me, that sort of stuff. Really basic kind of things.
I’ve never really had to point them and actually use them, but unfortunately that has changed in the past six months. Not only will I be pointing this out to future clients, but I’ve updated it to give me more protection and security. Specifically two issues:
- If there is a milestone agreement, demanding the final-end product without paying the subsequent milestones
- Attempting to seek out my personal information to call me on my cell phone, my friends, or personal online presence (or other connection) for a non-emergency manner.
I had a clause in my terms for something of the sort in general, but I am specifically spelling and pointing it out now.
What does this mean?
First, the milestone part. It’s quite simple; if you have milestones for a project (doodle images, put in a book, format book), and you’re supposed to pay money for each milestone, you’re not entitled to the entire project and refusing to pay past the first milestone “because the entire project is not in my hand”. Stages need to be met, bills have to be paid. A professional freelancer won’t let that happen, and neither will I.
Second, the communication part. I don’t appreciate unwarranted communication outside an established channel, especially without expressed permission. If we’re chatting over e-mail, don’t fish for my personal e-mail to go Skype or call my phone out of the blue. Don’t randomly call me 6 in the afternoon when I didn’t make an appointment with you, then try to message me on Facebook right after because “you feel you want a faster response”. I greatly value my personal space and buffer between clients I work with, and you violating that is almost to the point of being sacrilegious and extremely offensive.
I don’t have a problem talking to you via voice, and I almost always use Skype and hold business hours. I will make an appointment and work with you to get a time and communicate with you, if you do wish to talk to me more directly. That’s not what this is about. This is, however, about being badgered on a whim for whatever nonsense is going on in your head, feeling that you want an answer “NOW” because I don’t answer in a handful of moments, or you don’t want to write an e-mail about it.
To put this into very relatable terms, this is similar to a guy calling a girl out of the blue after fishing for her phone number, after only talking to her for e-mail for a week or two. Same exact connotations and feelings. Don’t be that person.
If things in the Bad Client Clause come up, I will amicably and professionally try to resolve them with you. However, I am taking a firm stance and looking out for myself, especially the communication bit.
If these get violated and either come to a loggerhead or carries on despite a warning, I will immediately stop work on your project and part ways. No ifs, ands or buts. Any initial downpayment you made will be put towards work delivered so far, and whatever current material that was in progress will either be partially delivered or refunded for. You will not get a refund if work was done, and you will be promptly sent on your way.
I’m also putting this there, and realize it is a tricky subject. For having worked with people for the past six years in freelancing, I do notice I tend to attract a certain clientele at times. Without being specific they tend to be quite frugal, beat me down on price and expect constant 24/7 hand-holding. They truly believe that they should get all their money back if something goes wrong, and are much akin to the “Karens” that people describe in retail and Reddit (except both genders, mind you).
And while I get bad clients from every corner and background, the most troublesome and problematic come from this group. It is the group that made me have these initial clauses in the first place, and has made me seriously re-evaluate myself and how I operate; even to the point to try hiring a part-time virtual assistant, to stick as a face so I don’t have to deal with them.
If you have these types of tendencies, I am not your freelancer. I am not your puppet, I am not Plan Z for $10 bucks. I am not the “cheap Indian boy that I can push around”. And I certainly will hold my ground and value my time and self-worth. My health and well-being is of a higher priority, things I’ve realized hold a lot more value to me in the past four months in this line of work.
I will be more proactively keeping this in check so those that actually do order and decide to work with me, I will perform to the best of my ability. These measures go into effect immediately.
In short? Be fair, know your tech, be level-headed and not a jerk; we’ll get along just fine otherwise.
Announcement over, carry on as you were.